3 WAYS TO DEAL WITH YOUR UNKIND BODY THOUGHTS

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The journey towards body positive and acceptance can be a long one, so it’s important to find ways to reframe your thoughts in a more productive way.  Here’s how you can turn it around.


BY: AMY HANNEKE, RDN, LD

For those who are struggling with their body image, it can be an uphill battle that seems never-ending. You envision there will be a point where you’ll wake up one day, and simply love your body and can eat all foods without guilt.

However, the goal is less about arriving at a destination than it is about continuously learning.

It’s important to recognize that we’re each on our own journey. And for some, less-than-kind thoughts can pop up about your body. Here are three helpful practices for dealing with unkind body thoughts:

1. Distance yourself.

It’s clearer to physically distance yourself from an object than it is to create mental and emotional space from it. One helpful practice is to: 1) note your feeling, and then 2) add “I’m having the thought that…” in front of it. It can also help to name your emotions surrounding the experience, which can help you process them in a healthy way.  Note, this is not the same thing as suppressing your feelings or numbing yourself. Often times, we have to de-escalate the situation a bit in order to think things through with a rational mind. For example: If you feel as if you’re not good at anything, the first step is to take note of that feeling and reframe it as: “I’m having the thought that I’m not good at anything.” Then add emotions: “Along with that, I feel frustrated, sad, and angry.”

Remember: you are not your thoughts and feelings.

They’re something you have, and they come and go – just like cars driving by on a road. Creating distance helps you dissociate your thoughts and feelings from being part of your identity, which lets you challenge them.

2. Challenge thoughts & ask questions.

Next, throw down a challenge flag on those feelings. Are those feelings true? Also, where are they coming from? Get curious and ask questions – it’s okay to be frustrated with thoughts, but the likelihood of those same thoughts and feelings popping up again is pretty high if we’re not investigating them. This is the kind of work that’s really great to do in counseling or therapy, but you can also do it with yourself or someone you trust. Here’s one question to ask yourself that can be especially helpful:

Does placing value on this now allow me to live out my values in the future?

Small decisions can snowball into bigger effects down the road, so this thought can help you translate long-term goals into short-term ones with actionable steps. It also helps you revisit and realign myself with what you truly value.

3. Powerful & positive affirmations.

Reminding yourself of what you value, and of all of the value that you already represent is empowering. Three helpful positive affirmations that can help if you repeat them to yourself:

  • I am strong and I can withstand discomfort.
  • I am enough, just as I am.
  • I am not more valuable because of what I eat, how I move, or what I wear – I am already valuable.

Having tools on hand when unkind body thoughts happen can be powerful, especially if you practice them as issues come up rather than saving them for when it all becomes too much.

Because your body deserves all the kindness in the world.

Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: EDGAR CASTREJON

Amy Hanneke, RDN, LD is an Idaho-based Registered Dietitian and owner of Satisfy Nutrition.  Through an anti-diet approach in her nutrition coaching practice, Amy firmly believes in helping individuals live a life without restrictions, full of joy, self care, and delicious food. Learn more about Amy at Satisfy Nutrition.

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